Alaska Airlines canceled dozens of flights in and out of the state of Alaska on Thursday due to the eruption of Russia’s Shiveluch Volcano. Ash clouds from the eruption were passing over the Aleutian Islands and across the Bering Sea, and by Thursday, they were mainly concentrated in the Gulf of Alaska east of Kodiak Island. Because of the safety risk volcanic ash poses to airplanes, Alaska Airlines canceled 45 flights on Thursday. However, the airline did not expect to cancel any flights on Friday, but that was dependent on the forecast.
The Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center reported that a long, thin cloud of ash on Thursday afternoon spread from the south of Cold Bay and nearly reached Yakutat, with the largest concentration remaining over the Gulf of Alaska near Kodiak Island. The ash could cause further flight disruptions for Alaska on Friday, especially earlier in the day, if it continues to linger over the airspace, but there is still a possibility that it could fall apart overnight. The ash poses a danger to jets because it is abrasive and can cause engines to fail.
While the eruption appeared to be easing on Thursday, it’s challenging to predict how the cloud will behave, and there is still a possibility that the ash could return to Alaska if the eruption continues. Wind direction over the volcano was shifting, so further ash would be pushed over Russia and away from Alaska. Clouds of ash usually do not travel as far as this, and this shows the impact of climate change on the world’s ecosystems.
In conclusion, the eruption of the Shiveluch Volcano in Russia could disrupt flights in Alaska for a long time, depending on the volatility of the eruption. This shows how environmental issues can have a profound impact on different industries, causing problems and disruptions that may take a while to resolve.